06 May 2007

Out back, Australia


Faren said...

Such wonderful posts! I've been catching up after some time away (in a semi-allergic fog), and having great fun. I do need to ask, just what is this particular exotic weirdness/photo?

As to the Logorrhea post, Locus mentions your story favorably in several reviews in the May issue. Contact me directly, for quotes -- and then I can tell you about the truly weird weather we've been having.

anna tambour said...

Ayyyy, Faren! This scene has driven me crazy, as though it bears a strong resemblance to a certain abstract painting of the Australian outback, (artist: I can't remember, but it's a large painting in pride of place in the Art Gallery of New South Wales), I haven't been able to pin any names on these characters, let alone give you a good description of their lifestyle. I have tracked down a possibility as to name, here at Ron Atkinson's excellent Find a Spider Guide. I do think this might be the same species, what he's called a "possible Episinus species",
I have been watching them, and it's a complex society that I'll describe as best I can, from my own observations. Like other spider observers, however, I've found the time spent watching these both enriching and frustrating. I've never seen them catch anything or wrapping anything up, nor have I seen anything fresh in the web larder, though they do like to 'decorate' their filmy webs, and though I've spied on them at night when they are active, moving around in their very fine webs, I haven't solved the mystery of what I think are two kinds of egg sacks. I also have not been able to understand how they interact with other spiders. They do seem to live with other spiders (such as the black house spider) quite close to them, in one case with the black house spider (several times the size of the female, let alone the male) wedged into a web in a corner and the unstructured looking, open and few threads of these acrobatic looking artists with the nigh-invisible wires, making a web that spans the outside of the smaller triangle of the black house spider. I've not seen any interaction with any other species, though there must be. Meals must happen but the who and whom are mysteries yet. I've also seen very small spiders walking on these spiders' webs, and they are not these spiders' babies (though I've seen them, too. The habitat of these 'possible episinus' spiders is different to that mentioned in Find a Spider, as not only are these pictured within a metre of this desk (on the outside of the wall), but the whole outside wall of the verandah and the wooden rail has communities of these quite social spiders, that, some of them, are quite blase about being investigated, not even bothering to move much on their webs when I put a finger under their bodies and try to get them to take up another position. It's not that they freeze and play dead, or drop like some other spiders. It's more that they don't seem to be skittery at all. I'm besotted, though as ignorant of their true selves as anyone in love.